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Using a Restricted Substance List for textile safety

Advanced Textiles, Industry News | August 1, 2009 | By:

A Restricted Substance List (RSL) is an essential first step in any serious textile safety program. A retailer, manufacturer, association or regulatory body develops an RSL to identify the chemical substances that will be limited or prohibited in its products or industry. To be an effective tool for textile safety, the RSL must have the following characteristics:

  • It should be comprehensive, and include relevant substances that are regulated or otherwise known to be dangerous for humans.
  • The value limits on hazardous substances should be set at levels that provide acceptable protection for both workers and consumers.
  • An effective RSL must be updated regularly to capture changes in evolving manufacturing chemistry, governmental regulation and expanding medical knowledge.

The International Oeko-Tex Association’s RSL, used for its Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Certification, meets those criteria but goes beyond them:

  • In addition to regulated substances, the Oeko-Tex RSL includes chemicals that medical experts suspect of being harmful even if they are not yet regulated.
  • Its value limits reflect the most restrictive laws and are usually more rigorous than many governmental regulations, ensuring a global approach.
  • Value limits are set according to a product’s intended use. For example, children’s apparel fabrics are held to stricter limits than window fashion fabrics.

The Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Certification global safety textile process goes well beyond the RSL, assessing textiles in real-life use situations. Certified goods are also audited, so that safety standards are maintained over time. For information from the International Oeko-Tex Association, headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, visit

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